Tag Archives: Christmas stress

The Twelve Top Tips For a Happy Healthy Christmas

With December arriving so quickly the festive season is all around us. Follow these twelve top tips to stay healthy in the holiday season so you can reach New Year in your best state ever, without having to lock yourself away to keep out of temptations reach.

12 Top tips for a happy healthy Christmas

Research shows that the three biggest stresses for most people around Christmas are: weight gain from overindulging, financial strain from overspending, and anxiety from having to spend time with people they prefer to avoid.

According to a recent Australian study by Roy Morgan Research, around 60 per cent of Australians dislike Christmas shopping (I’m one!). But instead of devising a shopping strategy about 20% head out to shop without any plan of action, and most (75%) come home without buying anything at all.

Instead they DO get to stand in queues, hunt-the-parking-spot, surround themselves with crowds of stressed people and ramp up their own stress, frustration and anxiety levels.

12 Top Tips For A Happier Healthier Christmas

Top tips to stay healthy at Christmas

 

Use this list of Twelve Tips to enjoy Christmas this year, instead of simply surviving it.

1.      Stress

Shopping – whether it is standing in long queues, finding space to park, or trying to hunt down a desperately desired gift, many people find Christmas shopping the most stressful part of the season. Wherever you go you will encounter tired, cross irritable people.

It is good to remember that stress and anxiety are quite normal at this time of year. When one family member is under stress, other family members are likely to feel stressed too, aggravating the situation and making life even more difficult for all.

There are many different natural ways to deal with the stress. The simplest of these is without a doubt the flower essence, Bach Rescue Remedy.

Rescue Remedy has been around for over 60 years and was created to help people cope with everyday stressful situations. Its effects are calming and centering. It is suitable for stressed children as well as adults. Carry some with you or keep it in the car so it’s handy when you need to de-stress.

Get it from the Health Food shop or your natural medicine practitioner. Keep one in your bag, your car or your office, so you have it on hand whenever you start to feel stressed. It is available in a number of different forms now – drops, spray, gum, cream, even pastilles and is easy to use. You can take it as often as you need.

2.      Water

This might seem a no-brainer, but it is one that is easy to forget. The reality is that dehydration is a greater problem when you are drinking alcohol. Have two glasses of water before you go to any function. Alternate alcoholic drinks with cool clear water or soda water when you are out socializing. Adding a slice of lemon or lime to the water is even better. Carry a water bottle when you are out shopping.

Remember to keep hydrated.

Photo credit: Evan Courtney
Photo credit: Evan Courtney

3.      Family Conflict

Family tensions seem to surface at this time of year, especially if your relationships are a little strained normally. If you struggle to interact some of the family normally then Christmas is not likely to be any different.

Rather than self-medicating with alcohol, cigarettes or other drugs in order to cope, you can again use the Bach Rescue remedy to help you get through difficult events. If you are able to identify triggers for the conflict, and consciously avoid them you may find it easier to cope.

Christmas gatherings are frequently the place where family dynamics replay just as they existed back decades ago. It can be difficult to be treated as the vague child you once were, when you in your everyday life you are a capable, competent and responsible adult with many skills and abilities.

Involving the family in a group activity after lunch can help keep conflict at bay. Backyard cricket, swimming if you have a pool, or charades if the weather turns nasty, will help lighten the mood.

And if it is still too much, then politely but firmly decline invitations.

4.      Sleep

It is far too easy to lose sleep during December, with busy calendars, lots of socializing, and preparations for the big day. Aim to get seven to eight hours  sleep each night.

We all know that sleep deprivation can cause foggy thinking, slow reactions and irritability. But insomnia can also increase your risk of depression and anxiety, or contribute to obesity. With stress and anxiety already a problem for many people adequate sleep is essential to help keep it at a minimum.

If you are tired, don’t go out. It won’t hurt to miss some parties.

There are a number of herbs that aid sleep. Lavender is very effective and can be used in the form of an essential oil in a burner or diffuser, in your bathwater, or in carrier oil rubbed on the skin. Chamomile, Californian Poppy, Passionflower or Hops are others to help insomnia. Many herbal formulations to aid sleep are available as teas and are simple and lovely in the evening before going to bed. Children can also drink many relaxing herbal teas such as Chamomile.

5.     Avoiding weight blow-out

Going to parties hungry, anticipating lots of yummy Christmas treats is a recipe for disaster. When you are hungry it is difficult to resist eating anything offered to you and you are likely to overindulge.Avoid weight blow out in the holiday season

Finger foods are high in kilojoules, as well as fat and sugar. Opt for low-joule options like vegetable crudités, hommus or fruit. Eating smart when you are out partying is the way to stay on top of excessive weight gain. Limit temptation by eating regular nutritious meals and avoiding Christmas goodies like chocolates, pudding and shortbread throughout the whole season.

Keep up your regular exercise program, and keep in mind it takes many hours of exercise to burn off the extra kilojoules gained at two or three parties.

 6.      Purpose

Finding some ‘purpose’ to Christmas may be a way to help you cope better. There are plenty of ways in which you could volunteer your time. As well as benefiting others, contributing to your community may create feelings in you that make you feel happy. If you find experiencing Christmas Joy difficult this could be a way to get in touch with it again.

7.      Finances.

Credit card blowout in January can be devastating, often taking many months to pay off. Paying for gifts, as well as your celebrations, with cash means you will know whether you can afford the purchase or not, and avoid the financial headache in January.

Rationalize who you will buy gifts for and consider whether you can gift with your time, or something you have made yourself, instead if finances are tight.

If you are hosting the Christmas meal, avoid the temptation to over-cater. You don’t need more food than you would on any other day. You will be thanked when your guests do not feel awful after eating too much.

8.      Breathe

Incorporate the practice of mindful breathing into your daily habits every day through December, if you haven’t already. Simply spend thirty seconds to take slow deep breaths. Do this a few times a day. It is a great way to reduce stress. The simple relaxation technique of focusing on your breath helps to relieve tension and anxiety.

Alternatively you could meditate – there is no need to be scared of this, it is not about becoming a yogi, simply the practice of drawing focus and reducing stress.  Here are some fun, light, easy ways to spend just a few minutes in meditation.

Christmas is about giving, but it is also the time to allow you to receive the gift of relaxation from yourself.

Relax in a bath with hand made natural products to sooth away stress
Relax in a bath with hand made natural products to sooth away stress

9.      Relax

It’s easy to say take some time out for yourself but often we feel there is no time, especially in busy December. However setting aside a relaxing night in to create a home spa experience, followed by a good book or DVD and an early night, could be the answer to getting through Christmas and the New Year and soaring into the New Year.

Run yourself a soothing bath if you have a tub. If not sit yourself in a comfy chair with a relaxing foot bath and a ‘renew you’ herbal brew for about twenty minutes.  Add essential oils to the water to help you relax.  Follow with some nourishing cream on your skin before you curl with your book or movie.

10.      Loss and loneliness

For many people the Christmas Season is one when feelings of loss for a loved one who has passed are magnified, especially as they are surrounded by others celebrating with their families.

For others who are single, whether they are young or elderly, it can be a time of great loneliness. Those far from home can feel overwhelming homesickness. When emotions become overwhelming Homeopathic remedies can be of great assistance. There are a number of excellent ones to help with grief, such as Ignatia, Nat-mur or Causticum. Homeopathic Nat-mur, Capsicum, Phos-ac or Ignatia are just some of dozens of remedies that help relieve homesickness. But Homeopathic Remedies need to be well matched to your own individual experience, or symptoms, of homesickness or loss, and this is best prescribed by a professional Homeopath, who takes many things into consideration before selecting the remedy best suited to you.

If you have decided to add purpose to your Christmas, including someone on their own, far from home in your celebrations is one way to achieve this.

11.  Embrace your inner child

Children look forward to Christmas with enormous excitement. They pour love into cards and gifts made at school. They marvel at the Christmas tree and street lights, rip open presents, pop crackers and join in the Embrace your inner child at Christmas and resolve to have funtraditions with absolute exuberance. They keep going all day because they stop before they have overeaten and don’t need to lie around to recover. They live every moment of the day before falling into bed at night to sleep soundly.

Approach Christmas with the resolve to have fun.

12.  Alcohol

Start the practice of alcohol-free days each week.

Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Limit the number of drinks you consume and alternate them with water or soda water. Be aware that many restaurants use over-sized wine glasses that contain much more than normal serving sizes. Also watch out for top-ups.

Drinking alcohol in the evening interferes with sleep. While you may fall asleep easily, it leads to disturbed sleep later in the night, possible waking you for long periods, or leaving you exhausted in the morning.

If you do overdo it help reduce a hangover with Vitamin C on the day after and Vitamin B Complex both BEFORE and AFTER the big night. It’s a much better combo than Berocca and is minus the aspartame which Berocca contains.

Many people find Homeopathic Nux-vomica, taken in accordance with Homeopathic prescribing guidelines gets rid of the headache and nausea very quickly.

Chlorella has been shown in studies to reduce hangover by 96%. It’s a green sea algae and available from health food shops. Buy a reputable organic brand – very important!

Coconut water is rich in electrolytes to help cleanse and antioxidants. Drink it through the day before you head out as well as before you go to bed to help offset some of the damage caused by the alcohol.

Dandelion root tea helps detoxify the liver and can be drunk before you go out as well as the following day.

Very Important –  What Not To Do

Finally these are some things that you should NOT do if you want to easily sail through into the New Year.

  • Don’t start a new diet, there’s time for that later.
  • Don’t add the expense of sending out cards to people you see all the time.
  • If your kids are scared of Santa, don’t force them onto his lap just to get the cute picture.
  • Remember, you don’t have to find the ‘perfect’ gift. Fundamentally a gift is a token that tells the recipient that you have had them in your thoughts, nothing more. It does NOT have to be big, or expensive, or just what they have always wanted. It is A TOKEN of the feelings from your heart.
  • Do NOT stress about being the ‘perfect’ Mum, partner or friend – most people close to you will understand.

And finally don’t become a slave to any list – gift, card, menu, parties, or even this one. Stay flexible, honour what your body tells you is needed the most, and enjoy the Christmas Season.

keep calm it's only christmas

Disclaimer.

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue. 

Source articles

http://www.myspringday.com.au/wellness_centre_details/top_5_tips_to_stay_healthy_during_christmas/302?id=302

http://www.drjoe.net.au/dr-joes-diy-health-guide-to-christmas/

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Christmas_tips_to_reduce_the_stress?open&utm_term=Christmas_tips_to_reduce_the_stress&utm_source=&utm_campaign=newsletter

http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-christmas-not-to-do-list/00010228

Related articles

 

Coasting to Christmas on the Silly Season Tsunami

With the end of the year racing towards us it is very easy to succumb to overwhelm, and here in Australia I believe that we actually do this season much harder than we need to, and perhaps harder than they do overseas. The festivities of Christmas, or whichever of the Holidays  you celebrate, coincides here with the end of the school year, the end of the working year, and the end of the calender year, all in one short week.

coasting to christmas-1386235586MYq

Trying to juggle a myriad of  ‘end-of-year’ school activities, dance concerts, exam study, shopping for the festivities ahead and socialising, together with having so many businesses closing down for at least a few weeks and preparations for the mass post-Christmas exodus to various idyllic beachy places, it is very easy to get caught up in a sense of “approaching the end”. Easy to get that nagging feeling that you need to finish absolutely everything, to tie up all the loose ends in your life.

It seems that the whole nation drives itself into an absolute feverpitch of stress through December and then shifts to the opposite extreme and shuts down totally after Christmas Eve. It is no wonder everyone races around with a sense of impending doom if everything isn’t done and finalized on time.

Perhaps this Australian ‘end-is-nigh’ approach to December actually fuels the stressful emotions that are experienced.

Are You Driving Yourself Too Hard?

How many times do you say to people ‘we must catch up before Christmas’? How much do you drive yourself at work to finalise jobs that realistically might wait a week or two? How many parties do you attend? How many late nights do you have? How much fattening, sugary, or rich food do you eat? How often are you driven to do or buy something which could wait, without really knowing what drives you to do it right now? And these are only what you are actually doing – they don’t even start to address the emotions that get stirred up at this time.

This last part of the year can be a time of escalating stress for so many during the build-up to Christmas with ‘so much to get done’, loneliness, increasingly tired children as they approach the end of the school year, the pressures of self-run businesses to cover added end of year costs such as holiday pay for staff, a calendar that seems to overflow, loss of a job and financial constraints, plus many more difficulties.

Loneliness and Grief

This part of the year is also the time of tremendous emotional stress for many. It is the time when the loss of loved family members, whether through separation or their passing, comes home and strikes with almost paralyzing force. For some people the whole season is wrapped in a tight mantle of grief that draws in around and stifles them.

It can also be the time when singles feel the most lonely, when isolation from family and friends or an abscence of them in your life strikes most intensely.

Family Tensions

For others the experience of returning into a family where everyone is suddenly thrown back into the role they played as a youngster and the family dynamics that played out when they were children, is too difficult to deal with.This is in spite of the fact that in their real everyday life they are responsible and competent parents, partners, employees or employers with wide and admirable skills and abilities.

In this scenario is it any wonder that the anxieties of childhood rear their ugly heads. Is it any wonder that behaviour reverts and childish tantrums or bickering, petulant unhappiness or resentment and various other actions that arise from the uncertain and fearful child that is still living deep within, start to occur.

But whatever the reason the ability to engage in the Christmas spirit eludes many and the season is anything but bright.

There are natural treatments that can help you cope as the Holiday Season gets nearer and stress levels increase
There are natural treatments that can help you cope as the Holiday Season gets nearer and stress levels increase

WHAT YOU CAN DO

There are a number of natural strategies that you can adopt to help deal with these issues. Rather than go into each of them in detail I will give you a link to some that I think are sound and effective. You can have a look and try a few out and then use any that suit you the best.

Even making a little time to get some exercise or relaxation is a good way to start. When we start to rush both exercise and relaxation space often go by the wayside. Schedule the time in your calendar and then stick to it.

Remember that a massage can work wonders especially if you carry your stress in your neck and shoulders, and it will be even more effective if it includes aromatherapy essential oils for relaxation.

Emotions respond beautifully to any of the varied forms of energetic medicine. Medicine delivered in an energetic form can be very effective in ‘re-balancing and re-setting you’ so that you are able to deal with whatever it is you have to face. Hear are a few.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy offers some great remedies for many of the issues such as stress, overwork, grief, over-excitement, anxiety, guilt, exhaustion and so on.

Homeopathic Coffea helps with getting over-excited children off to sleep on ChristmasEve. Ignatia is often a first choice for grieving. Nux vomica can work wonders if you are driving yourself towards burnout with overwork.

Homeopathic remedies need to be matched to your own idiosyncratic symptoms, the particular way you manifest the stress so unless you are familiar with self-prescribing for acute situations, or if your stress is long-standing you should consult with a fully trained and registered Homeopath.

Learn how to choose the best Homeopathic remedies for acute illnesses
Learn how to choose the best Homeopathic remedies for acute illnesses

Acupuncture

Visiting an Acupuncturist is a great way to deal with the stress, but even better, you can do Acupressure yourself anytime and anywhere, and it works along the same lines as acupuncture. Here is a good demonstration of one way to relieve stress by Donna Eden, an expert at using acupressure in her energy medicine work.

This advice and demonstration of acupressure points to use for hangovers could be useful if you are partying hard. And here are some acupressure points to help with feelings of anxiety felt throughout the holiday season.

Flower Essences

Flower essences can have a great benefit when trying to deal with grief. They work very gently, but effectively on the emotions.

The basic Bach Rescue Remedy or Australian Bush Flower Emergency Essence are both good ‘all-purpose’ mixes for dealing with stressful situations but there are a number of others that can be tailored to each individuals requirements. FES Five Flower Formula is similar to Bach Rescue Remedy.

Perhaps my favourite for this time of the year would be the Australian Bush Flower ‘Calm & Clear’ essence – the name says it all.

There are flower essences to help relieve all the other stressful emotional responses to the holidays and they are well worth investigating.

For information about each of the Bach remedies look here, for Australian Bush Flower Remedies look here and Californian Flower Essences here.   And this blogger describes her response to flower remedies which is interesting if you have had no experience of them before

Calm_Clear_Th

Difficult Families

Here are some useful strategies for those who have to deal with intensified extended family tensions. They give you the opportunity to plan ahead and devise strategies for you as well as your family.

Importantly it is all about taking back the reigns and getting back your sense of control. If you are able to clearly identify where your stress is coming from then you have a better chance of achieving this control. If there is a tradition in your festivities that causes more stress than joy, then it is time to give yourself permission to change things. Maybe 2012 is the year to make changes, after all you cannot help others if you are not really coping yourself.

Don’t forget, it is not all about the ‘Big Day’. The stress of the lead up through December can be just as bad or worse, and the significant health effect that prolonged stress can have on your whole system is often not recognized or acknowledged until it gets serious.

Remember to check in with situations and ask yourself whether they are of joy or of stress right through the whole Month of December.

Make this the year where you decide to be a bit kinder to yourself. Sure there are always going to be pressures, but maybe by being aware of the extent of the manufactured pressures you embrace, you can let a few slide, and in easing up your obligations you will be able to deal with those stresses you really cannot avoid.

It is time to allow yourself the gift of self-love and self-care.

It is time to allow yourself the gift of self-love and self-care

 

Disclaimer.

All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site.